Masturbation is key to self knowledge

I wanted to change things up a little bit and write a column for those of you who aren’t having sex and want to keep it that way.

People assume that sex equals vaginal intercourse. Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is much more to sex than that. Oral sex is sex, same as anal sex, hence the “sex” part. Many people would consider manual stimulation a form of sex.

The next few columns I write will be about different ways you and your partner can connect sexually and be intimate without having intercourse, the popular term for which is outercourse. Planned Parenthood defines it as sex play that keeps sperm out of the vagina to prevent pregnancy. It is safe, effective and convenient.

In this column, I’m going to discuss mutual masturbation. I know for many women even solo masturbation is unknown territory. If that’s the case, I would recommend trying it alone before you try mutual masturbation.

Masturbating with a partner can take several different forms. You could masturbate while your partner does the same, so there is less pressure on one person, or if you like the pressure, you can pleasure yourself while your partner watches, or vice versa. You can do regular foreplay such as kissing and fondling, too., an online resource for female masturbation, has a post from “Jenne” that I think sums up how most women feel about the idea of mutual masturbation.

“The first time I ever did this for a partner I felt awkward, stupid, and self-conscious for about two seconds,” Jenne wrote on the website. “It was once I looked at his face and realized just how much he was enjoying watching me enjoy myself that I no longer felt self-conscious and began to let go and indulge.”

If you prefer to go one at a time, you can start by touching yourself as your partner watches, or he or she can get you warmed up and then let you take the wheel.

An added bonus of mutual masturbation is that if you know exactly how to get yourself off, you are giving your partner the instruction manual to your orgasm. And that’s definitely to your benefit if you do decide to have sex in the future. Many people don’t realize that unless you give your sexual partner explicit guidance on what particular things you find arousing, you are less likely to achieve an orgasm. Turns out, most people can’t read minds.

As with anything to do with sex and relationships, the only way you will make it rewarding and comfortable for both people is if you can move past the awkwardness and talk about what works and what doesn’t.

Another prominent feature in mutual masturbation and solo masturbation is toys. Vibrators and dildos need not intimidate men.

Instead, take sex columnist Dan Savage’s advice and think of them as another tool in life’s toolbox.

It’s like a how-to video. Watch attentively where and how your partner uses it. Does she spend more time inside the vaginal canal? Or does she focus on the lips and clit? This might sound intuitive, but make sure you know at what point your partner is having an orgasm.

That is why it is so important that women masturbate by themselves to figure out what they like, because if you don’t know what gets you off, it will be extra hard for your partner to figure it out.

If you don’t know where or how to start, try finding porn that focuses on female orgasm.

Mutual masturbation can also be you masturbating your partner like he or she would do to himself or herself. You could pleasure your partner while he or she returns the favor.

I imagine that most people don’t try mutual masturbation because they feel self-conscious and are afraid of how their partners will react or what they look like while masturbating. But really, most people share the fact that they, at the very least, enjoy and probably get aroused watching someone build up to and have an orgasm.

Make sure to tune your environment to your needs. If you want to role play, do that — dress up, experiment with fetishes or BDSM.

Do what it takes to feel comfortable. Write a letter detailing what you want you and your partner to try; wear a costume or do it in the shower or the dark. If you are able, indulge in a glass of wine to feel slightly less inhibited.

Whatever your reason is for not having intercourse, that doesn’t mean that in the mean time you can’t get a little sexy every now and again and enjoy an orgasm or two.

Hunter is a senior psychology major at UNM. She has a special interest in sex psychology and research. You can send questions and comments to

One thought on “Masturbation is key to self knowledge

  1. Pingback: Religion and sexuality, a new view — from Georgetown University Press blog | SEXed

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